Not to be an alarmist, but ABC7Chicago.com released a story detailing the millions of people who have been displaced over the last several decades. Why? Because the Olympics came to their town.
Kudos to reporter Ben Bradley for bringing this story to light. He doesn’t pull any punches, either. He begins:
“As Chicago looks to host the 2016 Olympic Games, a new study finds that over the last 20 years more than 2 million people have been displaced as a direct result of the Olympics. Many were low-income renters who were forced out when rents soared soon after a city was awarded the Olympics.
If Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Summer Games is successful, the Olympic stadium and village would be built on the city’s South Side, where some residents wonder how the games would affect their property values and the quality of life.”
Bradley reports that in its preparations for hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing has displaced 1.2 million of its residents. (China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, denies this.) Seoul evicted over 720,000 people to make room for the 1988 Summer Olympics.
“Chicago 2016 will take a balanced approach — working with the community and city and ensuring anywhere the Olympics touch, it will benefit that community,” said Patrick Sandusky, Chicago 2016 spokesman.
We’ll see if the Olympics are coming here in 2009. Until then, we can only wait.